MDI mom honors late daughter with kidney donation

NORTHEAST HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - "Before Ashleigh turned eighteen she died very suddenly from a pulmonary embolism. Memorial Day weekend she was coming home to have a BBQ with our family. Drove up our driveway and never made it in the house."

Ashleigh expressed to her mother she wanted to be an organ donor if anything was to happen.

When Ashleigh passed she was only able to donate tissue.

"This year, it's not about me or my family it's about Emily."

Wendy wanted to "complete the process" and donate a kidney in honor of her daughter.

In September 12-year-old Emily Pooler was the recipient.

"For me, it was a little bit of disbelief and a little bit of 'oh my god, look at you, you're beautiful and you're cute.' I had a bear made for her, a special bear, with a cape that says I just adopted a kidney with the date and you can just feel the connection with us."

Wendy never expected the recipient to be a child.

"Not only was I making a difference to a person, I was saving the life of a child."

A lot has changed in Emily's life.

"Emily goes to school full time now and goes outside for recess. Her doctors had said she might not be able to get back till Christmas time. She was back to school full time before Halloween."

"She's been through so much and her parents, you know, you just want to give, and I was able to honor my daughter. That for me is the biggest thing, I know now that she is super proud of me and I'm at peace with that. If I had four more kidneys I am telling you I would be there in a heartbeat."

Wendy hopes her story will inspire others to consider being a living donor.

"Consider giving. I can't even put into words what it means to save someone's life."